Monday, August 19, 2013

One too many Hanley errors ends the 10-game streak

Well, make that TWO too many errors.

A couple of errors in the ninth inning from Hanley Ramirez at short led to the winning run off of Brandon League, as the Phillies gave Ryne Sandberg his first big league win as a manager, 3-2.  The loss also ends the 10-game winning streak the Dodgers have been on, as their advantage in the NL West went down a tick to 7 1/2 games.

After watching Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw completely overwhelm the porous Phillies' offense for two games, Ricky Nolasco was given the task of winning without Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and A.J. Ellis all getting the day off.  Oh ya, Cole Hamels started on the other side.

Nolasco, however, was spotted a 2-0 lead as he was looking good in the early going.  Andre Ethier led off the second and did something that goes against his career stats: homer off of a left-handed pitcher.  His solo shot off Hamels made it 1-0.

In the fourth, Ethier was again the thick of things.  He singled with one out, then scampered to third on a wild pitch.  Scott Van Slyke struck out, but Jerry Hairston came through with a two-out RBI single, and the Dodgers were up 2-0.

The Phillies were desperate for a run of any sort, and mercifully they got one in the fourth.  With two outs, Darin Ruf hit solo bomb to left, cutting into their deficit at 2-1.

That score would hold up until the sixth when the Phillies tied it.  Nolasco beaned Chase Utley on the foot with one out.  Dominic Brown singled out to Yasiel Puig in right, who then fired all the way to third late, allowing Brown to advance to second.  Once again, you live by Puig's arm, and you sometimes die by it.

Ruf took a walk to load the bases with one out.  Cody Asche grounded a slow one to Mark Ellis at second, but they could only get the out at second, allowing Utley to tie the game at 2-2.

The bats for the Dodgers largely went silent after scoring in the fourth, as they only gathered two hits the rest of the way.  Nick Punto walked to start the eighth, but was immediately erased on a double play ball from Ramirez.

League took over for Paco Rodriguez, who struck out three of his four hitters faced, with one out in the ninth.  Right away, Casper Wells reached when Ramirez's throw could not be handled on a bounce by Hairston.  Carlos Ruiz singled to put runners on the corners, and when Jimmy Rollins was announced as the pinch-hitter, he was given the intentional pass to load the bases.

That strategy appeared to work when Michael Young grounded an easy one to Ramirez, who had the option of either getting the out at home, or turning two.  Then again, he chose Option C: bobble the ball, everyone's safe, and the game's over.

This was definitely not a game Ramirez would like to remember, as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, a GIDP, and two errors.  Hey, even someone as red hot as him has off days.  Puig was also 0-for-4 with a strikeout, so it's safe to say that perhaps they were trying to carry the offense a little too much.

A question can be asked about Ramirez's first error in the ninth: Would Gonzalez have handled the hop?  A couple things to consider is that the ball appeared to hit the edge of the grass and dirt, so it wasn't a normal hop.  Plus, Hairston was making only his fifth career start at first, all this season.  If Hairston makes that play, then there would've been two outs, and who knows if the Phillies get that run.  It wasn't an easy one to handle, so even Gonzo may not have gloved it.

Something that was positive was Nolasco's start, as he lasted six innings for five hits, two runs, one walk, and five strikeouts.  He was in a rut for awhile of not going at least six innings, so this was good to see.  For a #4 starter, I'll take this line every time.  With the Dodgers in eight starts, he's 4-1 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.

The Dodgers immediately move on to Miami for four with the Marlins starting Monday.  The Marlins are absolutely horrific at 47-75, second worst only to the Astros.  What do The Fish have going for them?  Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez.  The Dodgers will get to see both of them right away, as Hyun-Jin Ryu will look for his 14th win.

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